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American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

 
 
 
 
American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood
Author: Marie Arana
ISBN 13: 9780385319638
ISBN 10: 385319630
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Delta Trade Paperback
Publication Date: 2002-05-28
Format: Paperback
Pages: 309
List Price: $16.00
 
 

In her father’s Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother’s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken’s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who “was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American Chica.”

Here are two vastly different landscapes: Peru—earthquake-prone, charged with ghosts of history and mythology—and the sprawling prairie lands of Wyoming. In these rich terrains resides a colorful cast of family members who bring Arana’s historia to life...her proud grandfather who one day simply stopped coming down the stairs; her dazzling grandmother, “clicking through the house as if she were making her way onstage.” But most important are Arana’s parents: he a brilliant engineer, she a gifted musician. For more than half a century these two passionate, strong-willed people struggled to overcome the bicultural tensions in their marriage and, finally, to prevail.

USA Today

Lush, mystical ... a memoir that blends family historia and the puzzling deadly politics of Peru.